Literary Criticism, Archetypal Criticism

Literary Criticism, Archetypal Criticism

Literary Criticism, Archetypal Criticism

LITERARY CRITICISM Archetypal Criticism

• The word archetype is from the Greek arkhetupon, first mold or model. • In literature and art an archetype is a character, a tradition, an event, a story or an image that recurs in different works, in different

cultures and in different periods of time.

• Archetypal Critical Questions: 1. What images, symbols, figures, are present that are present in other literary works? 2. What myths, dreams and even ritualized modes of social behavior are present?


Feminist Criticism

• A type of literary criticism that critiques how females are commonly represented in texts. They focus on how femininity is

represented as being passive and emotional – the “caregiver,” and the male is associated with reason and action – the “doer.”

• As an addition to the feminist movement in politics, the feminist critique of literature seeks to raise the consciousness about the importance and unique nature of women in literature, and to point out how language has been used to marginalize women.

Feminist Critical Questions:

1. To what extent does the representation of women in the work reflect the time/place in which the work was written?

2. How are the relationships between men and women presented in the work?

3. Does the author present the work from within a predominantly male or female perspective?

4. How do the facts of the author’s life relate to the presentation of men and women in the work?

5. How do other works by the author correspond to this one in their depiction of the power relationships between men and women?

Historical Criticism

• Historical criticism strives to examine literary works within their historical context. In analyzing a text, historicists consider cultural, political and social forces that influenced and are revealed through the text.

• Historicist Critical Questions:

1. What actual historical events did a writer refer to, and how was the event altered in the fictional account?

2. When was the work published and what was the public’s response at the time?

3. What social attitudes related to the action in the work were prevalent during the time it was written?

4. What other types of historical documents, cultural artifacts, or social institutions might be analyzed in conjunction with

the literary work?

5. To what extent can we study the past as it is reflected in the literary work?


Marxist Criticism

Karl Marx (1818-1883) emphasized that the primary influence on life was economic, and he saw society as an opposition between

the capitalists and the working class.

The literature that emerged from this kind of analysis focuses on individuals in the grips of a class struggle.

The poor may try to escape their situation but ultimately fall back under the ruthless dominion of the capitalist oppressor.

Marxist Critical Questions:

1. What is the economic situation of the characters, and what happens to them as a result of this status?

2. To what extent are the lives of characters influenced or determined by social (i.e. how an individual is expected to

behave in a given circumstance), political (i.e. the directives of the state), and economic (i.e. the interplay between production, supply, and demand) forces?

3. What social forces and institutions are represented in the work?

4. To what extent does the work overlook the economic, social, and political implications of its material?


Psychoanalytic Criticism

• Psychoanalytical criticism seeks to explore literature by examining how the follow issues are represented:

1. How human mental and psychological development occurs 2. How the human mind works 3. The root causes of psychological problems 4. How the id, ego, and superego are represented

• Psychoanalytic Critical Questions:

� For psychoanalytical criticism that focuses on the character(s):

• Does the character demonstrate any neuroses or psychoses?

• Is the character’s behavior indicative of or influenced by repressed desires or conflicts among the id, ego, and superego?

Literary Criticism

Literary Criticism

Osty Writers